Movement in Squares

Bridget Riley1961

Arts Council Collection

Arts Council Collection
London, United Kingdom

Known for her optically vibrant paintings and distinct visual language Bridget Riley has been celebrated as one of Britain’s leading artists since the 1960s. Early in her career Riley confessed to feeling a great sense of frustration over what it meant to be a modern painter, this question, and her early formal training led to the conception of Movement in Squares and the development of the visual language for which she is so well known. Seeking to find a purity in the abstract form Riley began to draw squares, from these drawings she said ‘...as I drew, things began to change. Quite suddenly something was happening down there on the paper that I had not anticipated. I continued, I went on drawing; I pushed ahead, both intuitively and consciously. The squares began to lose their original form.’ ‘Movement in Squares’ consists of twelve rows of alternating black and white squares, their height remains the same but their width slowly diminishes, these repetitive structures and the strong contrast develop an optical illusion of sorts, providing a sense of movement. This serves as the beginning of an enquiry and offers an insight into the early stages of Riley’s investigations into the conceptual roles of geometric shapes.

Steven Burridge


  • Title: Movement in Squares
  • Creator: Bridget Riley
  • Date Created: 1961
  • Physical Dimensions: 123.2 x 121.2cm
  • Rights: Bridget Riley, 2014, courtesy of Karsten Schubert, London
  • Medium: Tempera on hardboard

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